Women, Rape and Justice : Unravelling the Rape Conundrum book cover
1st Edition

Women, Rape and Justice
Unravelling the Rape Conundrum

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 4, 2022
ISBN 9781138316270
March 4, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
328 Pages

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Book Description

Is justice possible for a woman raped in contemporary patriarchal culture? This book explores one of the major conundrums of our time: given all the feminist activism and reforms of the last 50 years, why does rape remain so prevalent and justice so elusive? In exploring these questions, Jan Jordan takes us back into the patriarchal origins of our rape culture in order to trace the connections between past laws and current justice realities. Her examination covers developments in police and court processes and examines the connections between men, masculinity and rape before considering the scope of rape prevention.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 The rape conundrum

Chapter 2 Rape laws; rape lore

Chapter 3 Seeking rape justice

Chapter 4 Riding the review-go-round

Chapter 5 Men, masculinity and rape

Chapter 6 Preventing rape; challenging patriarchy

Chapter 7 The end is the beginning

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Jan Jordan is Emeritus Professor of Criminology at Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. She has spent more than three decades researching sexual violence, with the primary aim of making the voices of women silenced by rape heard by those positioned to facilitate their access to justice. Her books include The word of a woman? Police, rape and belief (Palgrave Macmillan) and Serial survivors: Women's narratives of surviving rape (Federation Press). Her current research, funded by a Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Award, asks why, despite more than 50 years of feminist action against violence, rape prevalence remains so high and rape justice so elusive.


Fifty years of feminist critique, official reports and new policies, but minimal change in rape prevalence and stereotypes. Jan Jordan shows why: Sexual violence against women is sustained by deep-seated gender inequalities, patriarchal institutions and damaging cultures of masculinity. Yet this is an ultimately optimistic book: all these things can change. And should.

-Raewyn Connell, author of Gender: In World Perspective

Jordan provides an essential history of the evolution of justice responses to rape and efforts towards change that end not far from where they started. Non-validating, silencing, and traumatizing treatment continue to emanate from the very systems sustained across the globe assigned the duty of norm enforcement. She embeds rape into patriarchy to shine light on the false beliefs and stereotypes, as well as the power to control, that stain both citizen response and "justice" decisions at all levels of the criminal legal system. In this age of empirically-supported, multi-level explanations for why rape happens and then is disappeared, it is crucial that many years of scholarship elaborating the role of gender dynamics not be lost. The evocative words of victims and key players are powerful voices throughout and anchor timeless scholarship into lived experience.

- Mary Koss, Regents' Professor, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona

This book should not be read as a counsel of despair as Jan Jordan describes the sustaining characteristics of gender inequalities leading to the ossification of reform attempts aimed at preventing sexual violence against women and girls. The ubiquity of rape across time and continents is documented by case examples, original research and international studies. But it is through her meticulous historical analysis and international comparisons that we come to a greater understanding of why men not only rape but are protected from sanction. Therein lies hope that with such knowledge society can do better.

- Jennifer Brown, Visiting Professor, Mannheim Centre for the Study of Criminology and Criminal Justice, London School of Economics and Political Science